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Karnataka State Board Class 9 English Supplementary Chapter 1 The Goat and the Stars
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The Goat and the Stars Questions and Answers, Summary, Notes
What makes the boy look funny?
The boy wore oversized brown trousers. This gave him a curious look. His hair looked as if it had been shorn off with sheep shears. There was always mud on his boots.
Where are the goats kept?
The goats are kept in the pigsty.
What did the boy do while grazing the goats?
The boy tended to the goats very lovingly while he took them for grazing because he treated them as friends and knew that they were his friends. Every morning he would take them out for grazing and bring them back to the pigsty in the evening.
What first made the man and his wife become aware of the smell of the goat-kid and the boy?
During the service, the clergyman mentioned the gifts of frankincense and myrrh given to the child Jesus by the three wise men. At this moment, the man and his wife became aware of a strange smell. Initially, they did not realize that the smell was coming from the boy and the goat. Since the sermon was on frankincense and myrrh, they wondered whether frankincense and myrrh could have such a strange smell.
Why was the boy troubled by the absence of snow on the ground?
The absence of snow on the ground went against the traditional belief of the boy. He had for a long time believed that at Christmas, there would be snow on the ground, small bells would ring and there would be a moving star. But now there was no snow on the ground. There were no bells ringing. He felt disappointed.
Explain the message written on the notice board.
From the response of the boy, it is clear that the message served its purpose. The purpose of the message was to motivate people to donate and give gifts generously to help the needy. The message made an emotional appeal by reiterating that no gift was too big or too small. Each gift was important by itself. It was the nobler impulse to donate that was valuable.
The message also had the words, “This means you”. This injunction could be interpreted in two ways: it could mean that the greatest gift was to offer oneself to the service of God, or it could mean that everyone who read the notice should be willing to donate something or the other.
Describe the appearance of the young (small) boy.
The small boy was the son of a farmer couple who owned a small farm of about ten acres. He was an innocent young boy with a look of determination on his thin lips. His large brown trousers gave him a curious look. His hair looked as if it had been shorn off with sheep shears. There was always mud on his boots and most of the time he smelled of goats.
How did the notice in the Church affect the small boy?
The small boy saw the notice every day in the morning when he came to the Church. It was in blue and scarlet letters on a board outside the Church. It had been there since a month before Christmas. The large letters, “This Means You” affected the boy more than anything else. He was troubled by this. He thought that it particularly referred to him.
The notice left him worried. It seemed to hit him in the face. It singled him out from the rest of the world. He felt that he had to do something about it because he felt that it was watching him. Finally, it appeared to him that the notice and God were one.
So, he thought that God too was watching him. Therefore, the small boy, in the end, decided to give away something which he loved more than anything and that happened to be the goat-kid, which was his favorite.
How did the boy spend his time during the day?
It was the responsibility of the boy to take care of the dozen goats owned by his father. It was his job to graze them every morning and bring them back to the pigsty before darkness fell. He treated the goats like his friends; he was very fond of them. He spent all his time with them and therefore, he smelled of goats. On days when there was no school, he spent his time in the pigsty.
How did the small boy prepare himself and the goat-kid before going to the Church?
The small boy was very fond of the goats and especially fond of the little goat. After seeing the notice in the Church, he felt that it was referring to him. He had to give away something and he decided to give away the goat-kid which was his favorite. It was a great sacrifice.
That afternoon, he spent his time in the pigsty, kneeling on the strewed floor, combing the delicate milky hair of the little goat with a horse comb. He was proud of the gift he was going to give. It was something small and beautiful and living. It was his friend. He tied a piece of clean string around its neck and then it was ready to be taken.
He had decided to give the goat-kid away, in spite of being greatly attached to it. It was an act of great sacrifice, but he did not want to go against what God (the notice) bid him to do. In his innocence, he believed that it was his duty to give away the thing he loved the most.
What were the boy’s feelings when he left the Church in the end?
When the boy left the Church in the end, with the goat-kid in his hands, he was happy. He was not troubled by the fact that they did not want the kid. In fact, he was happy that it would be his again. The notice did not bother him either. He knew that it was not for him and that he had made a mistake. He was not troubled any more by the notice.
However, as he was leaving the Church, he was troubled by some other things. He had for a long time believed that at Christmas there would be snow on the ground, bells would be ringing and that there would be a moving star. But none of them were seen now. The boy was thinking of those things and not of the goat-kid, which he would have lost.
The Goat and the Stars Summary in English
The short story ‘The Goat and the Stars’ is about a young farm-boy who innocently misinterprets a church announcement regarding Christmas Eve gifts. The announcement says, “No Gift too Large. None too Small. Give generously. This Means You.” The little boy is deeply influenced by the words and gets disturbed every time he passes by the notice.
He even has the feeling that he is being watched by God. So he decides to give a gift. But till Christmas eve he is unable to decide what to give. However, on Christmas eve he decides to give a goat-kid as his gift.
He is of the feeling that it is a great sacrifice to make as he deeply loves the goat-kid. He is proud that he is offering a living thing, his friend. He takes the goat-kid under the cover of darkness. But he has a problem. He doesn’t know the procedure followed in the church for offerings. He thinks he can go to church and announce to the men in charge about the sacrifice of the goat-kid. So he goes to church, only to be met with laughter.
He reaches the church at the time of the sermon. The church is full of people. During the service, the clergyman mentions about the gifts of frankincense and myrrh given to child Jesus by the three wise men. At this moment, a man and his wife become aware of a strange smell.
Initially, they are not able to locate the source of the smell. Since the sermon was on frankincense and myrrh, they wonder whether frankincense and myrrh could have such a strange smell. Later they realise that the smell is coming from the boy and the goat. When they come to know the intention of the boy, they discourage him by saying that such gifts cannot be given.
The boy returns home without making the sacrifice. The author adds that the boy is surprised by the absence of snow, small bells and a moving star. The author suggests that the disappointment of the boy results in this phenomenon.
pasture: green land/grassy land
intervals: break-in time, break-in periods of time
sty: place where goats are kept.
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